Hymns of Glory: All Creatures Of Our God and King

“Hymns of Glory” will be a recurring series. Its purpose is to reflect on beautiful, sound, and spiritual hymns, both old and modern, that have made a tremendous impact in the lives of those who write for The Reformed Alliance, and have glorified God through it’s all-around composition. May you be blessed by the series, and consider these hymns for personal, family, and corporate worship.

The last time a Hymns of Glory post was put up on the blog, it was December. I know… it’s sad. I enjoy writing these posts, but I haven’t been able to get around to it. However, I heard a cover of the hymn All Creatures Of Our God and King again recently and realized this would be the perfect comeback to the series.

When it comes to the preferred worship style I have, I love the lyrics and content of old hymns. I am not talking about the monotonous, silly gospel songs of the Revivalist Movement and First Wave Pentecostalism like Leaning on the Everlasting Arms *gag*. I am talking about songs that have lasted through the ages and provide something meaningful for Christians all around the world. There is a reason why songs like How Great Thou Art and the subject hymn have been translated to hundreds of languages.

However, I am also not completely an old soul. I love it when contemporary worship bands are able to take hymns and modernize them. They can even possibly add something new, and improve upon the original. Now, I don’t ever want something like techno hymns or too many added choruses, but it is helpful to bring a modern taste of music to preserve hymns through many more ages to come.

The subject hymn dates back all the way to the 1200s, as the words were based on a poem written by St. Francis of Assisi, and his poem was based on Psalm 148. In the 19th century though, an Anglican hymn writer named William Henry Draper paraphrased the poem and wrote the melody for it. Now, there have been many versions of the hymn, but the most common is Draper’s rendition, and it is the one that is most likely published in your church’s hymnals.

Now, you are probably thinking I am a big fan of the Draper version, aren’t you? Well… no actually. Before you stone me, here are positive things I have about it:

  • The melody is absolutely genius. It’s iconic, it’s magnificent, and it’s a really brilliant composition and chord progression.
  • The hymn was written so a congregation could easily learn how to sing it by the second verse. That is key for our worship songs, even till today.
  • Draper put much effort into it. It has to be recognized that he read a really long Latin poem, and spent hours behind a piano composing one of the greatest melodies ever written.

Now, here are some of the negatives I have that keep me from appreciating the Draper rendition:

  • The lyrics focus too much on nature. While Psalm 148 certainly has a lot of nature references, but it only lasted a few sentences. I can’t take 10 verses on the description of the birds and trees.
  • No emphasis on doctrine. I firmly believe that great theology produces great doxology. There needed to be more theology in the hymn.

I know they seem to be minor gripes, but I like to point out that it’s not a bad hymn. If I was in a congregation that sang Draper’s take on the hymn, it would be far from a sin for me to sing it with that local church. It is still a glorious hymn. I just think there’s a group that does it better: Norton Hall Band.

The Norton Hall Band has covered multiple hymns, and many of them were superb, but I think their best cover is All Creatures Of Our God and King. The reason I think that is because they fix my two gripes. They keep the first and last verses of the original and add two new ones that add more soteriological and doctrinal truth. I also love the fact that they simplified the melody needed for the hymn, in order that modern worship leaders could easily teach it to the local church body. I also love how their cover ends with the usual ‘last verse’ of every hymn where the congregation is reminded of heaven and Christ’s victorious return.

I strongly urge everyone to check this one out. If you are a member of a local church, approach the worship leader about considering this song. If you are a worship leader, you have got to learn this one. Trust me, it’s great for a congregation. May God bless you all, and may your hearts be renewed by your worship to the Almighty King. As it says in Psalm 148:13 (ESV), “Let them praise the name of the Lordfor His name alone is exalted; His majesty is above earth and heaven.”

The lyrics are below, and to listen to the song simply click here.

[Verse 1]
All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Oh praise Him, alleluia
Thou burning sun with golden beam
Thou silver moon with softer gleam
Oh praise Him, Oh praise Him
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

[Verse 2]
Let all things their creator bless
And worship Him in humbleness
O praise Him, alleluia
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son
And praise the Spirit, Three in One
Oh praise Him, oh praise Him
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

[Verse 3]
All the redeemed washed by His blood
Come and rejoice in His great love
Oh praise Him, alleluia
Christ hath defeated every sin
Cast down thy burdens now on Him
Oh praise Him, oh praise Him
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

[Verse 4]
He shall return in pow’r to reign
Heaven and earth shall join to say
O praise Him, alleluia
Then who shall fall on bended knee
All creatures of our God and King
O praise Him, oh praise Him
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Soli Deo Gloria.

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